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*Works by Sylvia Plath (poetry, letters, journals...)*

*Plath biographies*

*Books of criticism/essays*

*Related to Plath, Miscellaneous*

*Audio and Video*



*Works by Sylvia Plath*


The Collected Poems (1986)

Containing everything that celebrated poet Sylvia Plath wrote after 1956, this is one of the most comprehensive collections of her work. Edited, annotated, and with an introduction by Ted Hughes.
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Ariel (1966)

Sylvia Plath churned out her final poems at the remarkable rate of two or three a day, and Robert Lowell describes them as written by "hardly a person at all ... but one of those super-real, hypnotic, great classical heroines." - Amazon.com.
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The Colossus and Other Poems (1960)

With this startling, exhilarating book of poems, which was first published in 1960, Sylvia Plath burst into literature with spectacular force. Graceful in their craftsmanship, wonderfully original in their imagery, and presenting layer after layer of meaning, the forty poems in The Colossus are early artifacts of genius that still possess the power to move, delight, and shock.
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Crossing the Water: Transitional Poems (1971)
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Winter Trees (1972)
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Plath: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets) (1998)

A representative selection of verse by Plath. With their brutally frank self-exposure and emotional immediacy, Plath's poems, from "Lady Lazarus" to "Daddy," have had an enduring influence on contemporary poetry.
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The Bell Jar

Plath was an excellent poet but is known to many for this largely autobiographical novel. The Bell Jar tells the story of a gifted young woman's mental breakdown beginning during a summer internship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York City in the early 1950s. The real Plath committed suicide in 1963 and left behind this scathingly sad, honest and perfectly-written book, which remains one of the best-told tales of a woman's descent into insanity.
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Plath's The Bell Jar (Cliffs Notes) (1985)

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The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath (2000)

Sylvia Plath's journals were originally published in 1982 in a heavily abridged version authorized by Plath's husband, Ted Hughes. This new edition is an exact and complete transcription of the diaries Plath kept during the last twelve years of her life. Sixty percent of the book is material that has never before been made public.
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The Journals of Sylvia Plath (Abridged) (1982)

Now the intimate and eloquent personal diaries of the twentieth century's most important female poet reveal for the first time the true story behind "The Bell Jar" and her tragic suicide at thirty. They paint, as well, a revealing portrait of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose stature has seldom been equalled.
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Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: Short Stories, Prose, and Diary Excerpts (2000)

Renowned for her poetry, Sylvia Plath was also a brilliant writer of prose. This collection of short stories, essays, and diary excerpts highlights her fierce concentration on craft, the vitality of her intelligence, and the yearnings of her imaginaton. Featuring an introduction by Plath's husband, the late British poet Ted Hughes, these writings also reflect themes and images she would fully realize in her poetry.
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Letters Home: Correspondence, 1950-1963 (1992)

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The Bed Book (1976)

Forget the Sylvia Plath learned in freshman English and tight biography; the bed book sings. It encompasses all the joys of imagination when the bed in darkness bore you away to magic kingdoms and jungles dark. With a whimsy and rhyme it carries the reader through the shapes and wonders of each bed. "In an elephant bed you can go where you please. You can pick bananas right out of the trees. An elephant bed is where kings ride. It's cool as a pool in the shade inside."
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The It-Doesn't-Matter Suit (1996)

Discovered 33 years after Plath's death, this fable tells of the desire of Max Nix to get a suit of clothes. Not an ordinary, workaday suit, but a suit for doing everything. Then, one day a mysterious parcel arrives, and Max sees a chance to get his wish.
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*Plath biographies*


The Silent Woman : Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes (1995)
by Janet Malcolm

In spite of the fact that there have been five biographies of Sylvia Plath along with other shorter accounts of her life and poetry, Malcolm's brief, pungent contribution is provocative, original and welcome. I don't think any reader of the book will ever be able to regard the genre of biography in quite the same light again. - The Times (U.K.)
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Her Husband (2003)
by Diane Middlebrook

Joining the recent spate of books about Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, all of which concern the sources of their poetry and their dysfunctional marriage, Middlebrook's is sure to be the gold standard. Astutely reasoned, fluidly written and developed with psychological acuity, the work is a sympathetically balanced assessment of two lives that flamed brightly with the incandescent fire of creative genius. Accessing newly available materials in the Hughes archives at Emory University, Middlebrook (Anne Sexton) offers fresh evidence of Hughes's beliefs in shamanism, psychic telepathy and the predatory instinct, and she breaks new ground in tracing the couple's interactive creative relationship, suggesting that neither would have produced his or her best poetry without the other.
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Sylvia Plath: A Biography (1988)
by Linda Wagner-Martin

The first biography of Sylvia Plath to draw on unpublished journals and letters, Wagner-Martin provides a detailed, objective, and illuminating portrait of this talented and tortured woman who is widely recognized as one of America's foremost poets of the 20th century. 20 pages of photos.
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Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath (1989)
by Anne Stevenson

In this authoritative and controversial biography, Stevenson charts the ways in which Sylvia Plath created her own legend--one at odds with the posthumous myth that has grown up around her. It is "the most genuinely feminist account of Plath's life yet: one in which Plath herself is held to be responsible for her own life, her own death" (Washington Post Book World).
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Rough Magic: A Biography of Sylvia Plath (1992)
by Paul Alexander

By the editor of Ariel Ascending (1984), a collection of essays on Plath's life and work. Alexander's is a full-bodied biography, long on facts, short on criticism, but the best so far as a conventional life of the poet. - Kirkus Reviews
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Sylvia Plath: A Literary Life (Literary Lives) (1999)
by Linda Wagner-Martin

This book, part of a useful series that focuses on writers' working lives, builds on previous works to remind readers that, Plath's well-known personal suffering notwithstanding," to read autobiographically...is to dismiss the artistry Plath demands of her writing, and often achieves in it." Thus, this study marks less a paradigm shift in Plath studies than a cutting away of the inessential and a consolidation of the best that is known.
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Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and the Story of Birthday Letters (2001)
by Erica Wagner

This erudite critical study, together with the Unabridged Diaries of Sylvia Plath released last year, breathes new life into Plath scholarship, ironically in this case through the study of her husband's poetry, particularly Birthday Letters (published in 1998 shortly before his death), which, Wagner, literary editor of the London Times, asserts, "demonstrates the extent to which the poets influenced each other," and then goes on to offer ample evidence, grounding particular poetic images and phrases in specific events of Plath's and Hughes's lives. - Publisher's Weekly
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The Death and Life of Sylvia Plath (1991)
by Ronald Hayman

Among the best Plath psychocritical investigations, by the author of Proust (1990), Brecht (1985), Kafka (1981), Nietzsche (1980), etc. Not a full-bodied life of Plath, Hayman's is a psychological weighing of the nature of the poet's suicide and its prefiguring in her works, deeds, letters, and so on. - Kirkus Reviews
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Sylvia Plath: Method and Madness (2004)
by Edward Butscher

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Haunting of Sylvia Plath (1993)
by Jacqueline Rose

Since her suicide in 1963 at the age of 30, Sylvia Plath has become a strange icon. This book addresses why this is the case and what this tells us about the way culture picks out "important" writers. The author argues that without a concept of fantasy we can understand neither Plath's work nor what she has come to represent. She proposes that no writer demonstrates more forcefully than Plath the importance of inner psychic life for the wider sexual and political world.
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Passionate Lives: D.H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Miller, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath...in Love (1995)
by John Tytell

Here is a compelling account of the romantic lives and times of five great writers of this century - D.H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Miller, Dyland Thomas and Sylvia Plath. Passionate Lives evokes how these writers lived on the cutting edge of passionate intensity, shows how their own love affairs influenced their writing, and brings a unique perspective to the work and lives of some of the best literary artists of the 20th century.
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The Fading Smile: Poets in Boston from Robert Lowell to Sylvia Plath (1994)
by Peter Davison

This extraordinary account, by a participant who knew them all, offers vivid reminiscences of Robert Lowell, Adrienne Rich, Stanley Kunitz, Sylvia Plath, Richard Wilbur, Anne Sexton, W.S. Merwin, and many others who interacted with each other and shaped American poetry at mid-century.
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Keepers of the Flame: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography from Shakespeare to Plath (1992)
by Ian Hamilton

A surprisingly original study of the literary estates of many famed writers, and a look at the tangled relationship between estate management and biography. Estates that Hamilton looks into include those of John Donne the Younger, Shakespeare, Marvell, Milton, Pope, Boswell, Robert Burns, Byron, Dickens, Tennyson, Swinburne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry James, Hardy, Kipling, Joyce, Eliot, and Sylvia Plath. Ted Hughes' trial-by-gravestone bequeathed him by Sylvia Plath is quite moving.
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*Books of criticism/essays*


Sylvia Plath: A Beginner's Guide (2001)
by Gina Wisker

This handy series from Headway offers brief yet lucid introductions to the world's cultural icons. Each book examines the life, the work, and the legends surrounding its subject, and key terms and concepts are highlighted and clearly explained. Additionally, each chapter ends with a review section for easy reference and to help consolidate the readeršs understanding of the text.
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Writing Back: Sylvia Plath and Cold War Politics (2002)
by Robin Peel

Sylvia Plath's interest in history and international politics is chronicled in her letters and journals, but has often been considered peripheral to her poetry and fiction. By placing this writing alongside the contemporary reporting of Cold War events, and in emphasizing the specificities of time and place, Robin Peel argues that the discourse of global politics, especially as absorbed by Plath in England, informs Plath's imaginative work much more significantly than is usually acknowledged.
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Sylvia Plath: Poetry and Existence (1988)
by David Holbrook

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The Other Sylvia Plath (Longman Studies in Twentieth Century Literature) (2001)
by Tracy Brain

In this exciting new study, Tracy Brain moves away from the endlessly retold story of Sylvia Plath's life to argue that there is another Sylvia Plath: a writer who was much more interested in a world beyond her own skin than critics have allowed. Tracy Brain provides new close readings of stories and poems that have seldom been talked about, or have been dicussed in mainly biographical terms.
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Sylvia Plath (1987)
by Susan Bassnet

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Sylvia Plath and the Theatre of Mourning (Oxford English Monographs) (2000)
by Christina Britzolakis

This book challenges the critical tendency to see Sylvia Plath's writing in 'confessional' terms, and draws attention to its self-reflexivity. In her closely sustained study, Christina Britzolakis argues that Plath developed a theatrical conception of the speaking subject. The author relates Plath's texts both to their historical moment and to contemporary debates about language, gender, and subjectivity.
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The Critical Study of the Birth Imagery of Sylvia Plath, American Poet 1932-1963 (1992)
by David John Wood

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Sex Drives: Fantasies of Fascism in Literary Modernism (2001)
by Laura Catherine Frost

In this exciting new book, Laura Frost advances a compelling reading of works by D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Jean Genet, Georges Bataille, Marguerite Duras, and Sylvia Plath, paying special attention to undercurrents of enthrallment with tyrants, uniforms, and domination.
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Sylvia Plath (Writers & Their Work Literary Conversations Series) (1999)
by Elisabeth Bronfen

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The Art of Dying: Suicide in the Works of Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, and Sylvia Plath (2003)
by Deborah S. Gentry

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White Women Writing White: H.D., Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, and Whiteness (Contributions in Women's Studies) (2000)
by Renee R. Curry

This book explores the relationship between three prominent twentieth-century American white women poets and the manifestations of whiteness in their works. The book argues that white women who write do so from within ideological, social, economic, political, and psychological frameworks of whiteness. Each chapter places one poet in relation to historical and cultural racial events prevalent during the time of her writings and explores the particular poems created and published during that period.
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A Journey into the Red Eye: The Poetry of Sylvia Plath - A Critique (1997)
by Janice Markey

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The Poetry of Sylvia Plath (Columbia Critical Guides) (2001)
by Claire Brennan (Editor)

Beginning with reviews of her initial collection, The Colossus, the reader is clearly guided through the profusion of critical material that has variously described Plath as feminine and feminist, personal and political, an American modernist and an English Romantic. The guide includes critical assessments from Robert Lowell, Sandra M. Gilbert, and Jacqueline Rose, among others.
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Protean Poetic: The Poetry of Sylvia Plath (1980)
by Mary Lynn Broe

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Sylvia Plath: A Critical Study (2001)
by Tim Kendall

In this new analysis, Tim Kendall seeks to redress the balance in his detailed and dispassionate examination of her poetry. In the process, Kendall shows that Plath was a poet constantly remaking herself, experimenting with different styles, forms, and subject matter, while at the same time firmly reinforcing her rightful place in the canon of world literature.
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Sylvia Plath: Confessing the Fictive Self (Writing About Women, Vol 3) (1992)
by Toni Saldivar

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Sylvia Plath: The Wound and the Cure of Words (1992)
by Steven Gould Axelrod

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Sylvia Plath: Poetics of Beekeeping (Salzburg Studies in English Literature. Poetic Drama & Poetic Theory, 192) (1997)
by Frederike Haberkamp

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Sylvia Plath (Modern Critical Views) (1989)
by Harold Bloom (Editor), William Golding

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Sylvia Plath (Open Guides to Literature Series) (1992)
by Robyn Marsack

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The Bell Jar, a Novel of the Fifties (1992)
by Linda Wagner-Martin

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Revising Life: Sylvia Plath's Ariel Poems (Gender and American Culture) (1994)
by Susan R. Van Dyne

In this work of feminist literary criticism, Van Dyne examines the manuscript evidence for 25 of the Ariel poems (written during 1962-63, in the turbulent last six months of Plath's life), revealing the complexity of their gestation and revision from first draft to final form.
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Sylvia Plath, Revised (Twayne's United States Authors Series, No 702) (1999)
by Caroline King Barnard Hall

Hall takes into account new material (since the first edition in 1978) in her exploration of both the novel and the poetry. She identifies remaining puzzles that face Plath scholarship, particularly those re-arrangements and deletions made by Ted Hughes, her husband. Hall also relates Path to the women's movement. She raises interesting questions about the relationship between the life and the art; this study will help readers assess the appropriateness of the label "confessional poet" for Plath.
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Sylvia Plath: the Woman and the Work (1977)
by Edward Butscher

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The Other Ariel (2001)
by Lynda K. Bundtzen

What is less well known about "Ariel" is that the poems it contains are not the ones Plath herself selected when she assembled her manuscript. With great care and critical insight, Lynda K. Bundtzen examines Plath's original typescript for "Ariel" and compares it to the version that was published by her estranged husband, Ted Hughes. In his role as Plath's literary executor and Ariel's editor, Hughes deleted twelve poems that he considered too "personally aggressive" in their attacks on him, while adding several others composed in the final weeks of Plath's life and colored by her suicidal depression. Bundtzen argues that Plath's original plan represented a conscious response to her disintegrating marriage--the swearing off of an old life with Hughes and the creation of a new self as a woman and poet.
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Sylvia Plath: The Poetry of Initiation (1982)
by Jon Rosenblatt

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Sylvia Plath: The Shaping of Shadows (1998)
by Al Strangeways

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A Poetics on Edge: The Poetry and Prose of Sylvia Plath : A Study of Sylvia Plath's Poetic and Poetological Developments (2001)
by Silvianne Blosser

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Icon Critical Guide: The Poetry of Sylvia Plath (2000)
by Claire Brennan

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*Related to Plath, Miscellaneous*


Wintering (2003) (fiction)
by Kate Moses

This exceptional first novel, shot through with a fierce poetic luminosity that almost matches that of Moses's much-written-about subject, covers the last few months of the poet's life as she cares for her sick children in the middle of a brutal London winter, struggling to write her last poems and recover from the defection of husband Ted Hughes...In the end one wonders not how Plath came to kill herself but how she survived so long. This beautifully written novel may offend literary purists, but most readers will find it moving almost beyond words.
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Sylvia and Ted (2001) (fiction)
by Emma Tennant

The tragic marriage of two young and brilliant 20th century poets, the earthy Englishman Ted Hughes and the fiercely burning American Sylvia Plath, has engendered much gossip, finger-pointing, and analysis. Tennant, who created a sequel for Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in Pemberley (1993), presents a fictional exegesis of the doomed love of Hughes and Plath in which their entwined life stories - fueled by romance, genius, occult powers, ambition, and betrayal - are rendered as compelling and archetypal as a Greek tragedy.
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Burnt Diaries (2001) (fiction)
by Emma Tennant

Burnt Diaries is Emma Tennant's third volume of memoirs, set mostly in the 1970s, during which time she founded and edited the avant-garde literary magazine Bananas. Most compelling of all is Tennant's revelatory portrayal of Ted Hughes. In the shadow of Sylvia Plath, Tennant offers a portrait of him in that decade, the process of Plath becoming one of the women fascinated by his power and attraction, and the legacy of their involvement with each other.
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Birthday Letters (1999)
by Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters--88 tantalizing responses to Sylvia Plath and the furies she left behind--emerge from an echo chamber of art and memory, rage and representation. In the decades following his wife's 1963 suicide, Hughes kept silent, a stance many have seen as guilty, few as dignified. In Birthday Letters we now have Hughes's response to Plath's white-hot mythologizing. - Amazon.com
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Ted Hughes: Collected Poems (2004)
by Ted Hughes

From the astonishing debut Hawk in the Rain (1957) to Birthday Letters (1998), Ted Hughes was one of postwar literature's truly prodigious poets. This remarkable volume gathers all of his work, from his earliest poems (published only in journals) through the ground-breaking volumes Crow (1970), Gaudete(1977), and Tales from Ovid (1997). It includes poems Hughes composed for fine-press printers, poems he wrote as England's Poet Laureate, and those children's poems that he meant for adults as well. This omnium-gatherum of Hughes's work is animated throughout by a voice that, as Seamus Heaney remarked, was simply "longer and deeper and rougher" than those of his contemporaries.
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Selected Poems 1957-1994 (2002)
by Ted Hughes

This selection of Ted Hughes's poetry, made by the author himself in 1995, includes poems from every phase of his four-decade career. Here are poems from Hughes's first book, The Hawk in the Rain, and its successor, Lupercal, which introduced him as a major poet; from Wodwo, Crow and Gaudete, book-length poetic sequences in which the natural world is made into a thrilling and terror-filled analogue to our human one; and from six volumes of his maturity, here arranged thematically, in which the poet is at once rural chronicler and form-breaking modern artist. The volume also includes previously uncollected poems and eight poems later incorporated into Birthday Letters, Hughes's meditation in verse on his marriage to Sylvia Plath, which became an international bestseller the year after his death.
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Ted Hughes: The Life of a Poet (2001)
by Elaine Feinstein

The first biography since his death of one of the greatest English poets of the twentieth century. Although Ted Hughes's genius was recognized early and he ended his days as England's Poet Laureate, his life was dogged by tragedy and controversy. His marriage to the poet Sylvia Plath marked his whole life, and he never entirely recovered from her suicide in 1963. Many people have held his adultery responsible for Plath's death; in this insightful book, Elaine Feinstein explores an altogether more complex situation.
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Wooroloo: Poems (1999)
by Frieda Hughes

Welcome to the meticulously observed world of Frieda Hughes, daughter of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. It is a world of tangible materiality constantly on the brink of change, a world populated with foxes and fire, fathers and lovers, mothers and birdmen--a world that is ultimately combustible, fragile, fearsome, and elegiacally beautiful. Hughes maps the landscape, both within and without, in language possessed of an almost painterly sensitivity and a sublime mastery of craft. The self she depicts is one who is tested by loss, danger, betrayal, and abandonment, yet one who is transformed through experience into a world beyond nihilism and despair a place that makes possible truth, strength of character, and the redemptive power of love.
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Waxworks: Poems (2003)
by Frieda Hughes

From Australia and London (where Hughes lives) to the New Yorker (where some of her debut appeared), Hughes' 1999 first collection Wooroloo rode a wave of international publicity, much of it generated by the poet's famous parents, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. That book itself read like many another first book: rough, full of experiments, and in debt to the poet's literary models (her parents, in this case, among them). Hughes's second collection presents a more accomplished writer with a project of her own: each of its 51 poems presents a mythological, biblical or historical character (Medusa, Thor, Houdini, Vlad the Impaler) whose life the poet sums up.
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Crow Steered/Bergs Appeared (2001)
by Lucas Myers

Lucas Myers was a friend of Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Hughes' sister Olwyn, Assia Weevil and Hughes' widow Carol. His memoir draws on his forty-year correspondence with Hughes (now in the Hughes archive at Emory University) and discusses Birthday Letters, the late Poet Laureate's collection of poems about Sylvia Plath and their marriage, and Plath's recently published complete Journals 1950-1962.
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Where Did It All Go Right?: A Memoir (2000)
by A. Alvarez

English poet and critic Alvarez now has written a memoir attempting to explain where it all went right in his life. Profiles of his mentors, including V. S. Pritchett and R. P. Blackmur, as well as descriptions of his encounters with Auden, Berryman, Lowell, Hughes, and Plath are acutely perceptive and full of rich anecdote.
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*Audio and Video*


Voice of the Poet: Plath (1999)

Before committing suicide in 1963 at the age of 31, Sylvia Plath wrote a bounty of work, including the final eight poems included in this self-read collection--described by Robert Lowell as her "appalling and triumphant fulfillment." This later work, as well as 13 additional recordings gathered here from Plath's short but significant career, are certainly triumphant: her prose is precise, scathing, utterly original, and mature beyond her years. Fortunately for listeners, Plath's voice mirrors her writing.
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Sylvia Plath Reads (1992)

The charged imagery of Sylvia Plath's carefully crafted poetry strikes even deeper when heard from the voice of the author. Remastered using contemporary digital technology, these historic recordings were made between 1958 and 1962, when Plath was at the height of her tragically shortened career. They capture the striking clarity of her writing and the studied pronunciations of her voice, while illuminating her subtle, yet profoundly moving vocal inflections.
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Sylvia Plath (Voices & Visions) (1997)

If you've ever wanted to hear Plath speaking - not just reading her poems - you'll want to listen to this tape. There are excerpts of Plath's BBC interviews, as well as interviews with Plath's mother, Aurelia, Plath's former teacher Mr. Crockett, and a host of others.
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Sylvia (2003)

The biting poetry and sad life of poet Sylvia Plath form the story of "Sylvia", starring Gwyneth Paltrow. This subtle but fascinating movie centers around Plath's relationship with poet Ted Hughes (Daniel Craig), with whom she fell aggressively in love while a student at Cambridge. Their relationship proved passionate but rocky; many of Plath's fans blame the depression that eventually led her to suicide on Hughes's infidelity. "Sylvia" doesn't let Hughes off the hook, but it doesn't paint Plath as a helpless victim either. Paltrow's superb performance captures the poet's fierce jealousy and artistic ambition as much as her debilitating sorrow. The movie makes no big statements about Plath's poetry, letting the troubling details of her life tell their own compelling story.
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Voices & Visions: Sylvia Plath (1988)

Plath is heard in a long interview and reading numerous poems conveying the emotional power of her world. Critics and her mother discuss the young woman who became the contemporary icon of the divided self. Archival footage chronicles Plath's meteoric career.
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Master Poets Collection: Sylvia Plath - Growth of a Poet (1998)

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The Bell Jar (1979)

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Poetry Speaks: Hear Great Poets Read Their Work from Tennyson to Plath (2001)

This is the definitive anthology to date of canonical poets reading short selections of their own work. Though some of the audio here has been widely available for decades, it is certainly exciting to hear Tennyson, Browning, Yeats, Eliot and Co. reading their work and to read easily along in the provided text indeed...The selections represent several major poetry movements, including the late romantics, modernists, postmodernists, confessionals, and black arts writers.
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